What’s cracking PAR fam? In this review, I’m taking a look at the Shuoer Singer earphone. The Singer is a hybrid model with one dynamic and one electret driver, a tiny body and detachable 2-pin cable. Interesting right? Let’s dive in.
In 2019, Shuoer created quite a stir with their Tape earphone (review here). The reason the Tape got so much attention was that it was basically the first entry-level IEM to incorporate an electret driver, so naturally, a lot of people were eager to hear it. Well, now the company has an even more affordable electret hybrid model. Will it be as popular as the Tape?
This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Shuoer Singer Review
- Compact, conventional and comfortable shell design
- Great build quality
- Detachable cable
- Clarity and resolution
- Balanced cable with SE adapter
- Recessed midrange
Package and Accessories
Generous bundles seem to be a trend so far in 2020 where brands are upping the ante in terms of included accessories and box contents. Those were my initial thoughts as I unboxed the Singer. But I’m getting ahead of myself here, let’s start with the box.
The box comes with a black cardboard sleeve. On the front is just the brand logo and model name. The back of the sleeve has a list of specifications and a frequency response graph.
Opening the box proper, you’re greeted by a zipper carry case seated in a foam insert on the right side and a compartment on the left which holds the accessories.
Right away I was surprised by the box contents because there’s a lot more here than we got with the Tape and H27 models. Gone is the metal case which has been replaced by a less premium but arguably more practical faux leather case. Anyway, let’s take a look at the contents in their entirety.
- Shuoer Singer earphones
- Detachable 2-pin OCC cable with 2.5mm balanced plug
- 1x extra pair of nozzle tuning filters
- 2.5mm balanced to 3.5mm SE adapter
- 6x pairs of silicone eartips
- 2x pairs of foam eartips
- Warranty card
Build Quality and Design
Adopting a simple bullet-shaped shell, the Singer is a fairly tiny little IEM. The shells are made from 304 stainless steel which gives them more heft than you might expect but they’re still very lightweight. In addition, these earphones feel extremely robust and near indestructible.
The housings are a dark metallic blue colour with some small white text wrapping around them. On the rear of each shell, Shuoer has cleverly placed a coloured ring to help you easily identify the respective sides: blue for the left side and red for the right.
I was really surprised to see the 2-pin sockets on the minuscule earphones. It’s quite unusual to see an IEM this small with a detachable cable but I think it’s fantastic. There is a single pinhole vent just in front of the 2-pin socket.
The nozzles are also metal and have a proper ridge that holds eartips securely in place. It turns out that these nozzles also act as tuning filters and you can choose between the 2 sets that come in the box. Strangely though, the difference in sound is practically imperceptible with only a difference of about 1dB between them in the lower and core treble.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
One of the big advantages with a shell like the Singer’s is the comfort. It’s basically only the eartips that come into contact with your ears so they’re very discreet and comfortable. In terms of noise isolation, they’re pretty good, assuming you’re getting a good seal with your selected eartips.
The included 2-pin OCC cable is a 4-core braided model. It feels nicely built and handles reasonably well. Because there are no preformed ear guides, it can be worn over-ear or straight down. There is a little bit of cable noise but it can be largely mitigated by wearing the cable over your ears. However, I found that even wearing it down the microphonics weren’t offensive enough to bother me,
The 2-pin connectors have a plastic housing but the Y-split and plug are aluminium. There is a clear plastic chin slider as well which can also help reduce any cable noise. Termination is an L-shaped 2.5mm balanced plug but there is an adapter included in the box that has a single-ended 3.5mm plug. It’s very rare to see this type of termination on a sub $100 IEM cable but I think it is a fantastic solution.
Gear used for testing includes the Shanling Q1, FiiO M6 and Yulong Canary II. The Singer isn’t hard to drive but it does seem to like some extra power. To my ears, this IEM performed best when paired with the Canary II on my desktop. In this pairing, the sound became more dynamic and the mids and treble were lifted up closer to the bass.
In terms of sound signature, the Singer has a sort of lopsided V-shape with the bass taking the lead, followed by a recessed core midrange, an upper mids plateau and a relaxed treble. It produces an unusual sound that is resolving with good clarity and yet suffers from some tonal balance issues.
It’s not that the bass is so extreme, just that parts of the mids and treble are comparatively distant. This is a coherency issue more than the poor quality of individual elements. I say this because the mids and the treble as separate elements sound quite good: it’s just that they’re both two steps behind the bass and upper mids plateau in the mix.
In addition, the timbre of instruments and vocals sounds fairly accurate albeit a touch thin. The Singer is an earphone that in one moment has you thinking, “WTF is this?” and in the next you’re like, “Actually, now they sound pretty darn good”. I can’t help feeling that Shuoer came close to making something quite special but fell shy of the mark.
The bass sits above the core midrange and the treble but it sits roughly in line with the 3-4kHz upper midrange mesa. At times it dominates everything yet with some recording it sounds much more balanced in quantity.
The quality of the bass is not too shabby: it has pretty decent texture and slam plus sub-bass that produces delicious rumbles in your ears. But the bass sometimes trips over itself and can become boomy and muddy when mid and sub-bass notes are playing together.
The quality of the midrange can vary greatly depending on the amount of bass in the recording. On tracks with little bass, such as Aaron Copland’s “Billy The Kid Suite IV. Prairie Night: Card Game At Night“, the Singer really can sing. However, in Keb’ Mo’s “Suitcase“, the bass upsets the tonal balance and becomes too dominant, despite the vocals and instruments having a nice and fairly accurate timbre.
Vocals have good tone and articulation but sometimes sound distant, or pushed back. The same can be said for certain instruments that are at times muted or in the background.
In the high frequencies, things are rather subdued and relaxed. There’s no sparkle or liveliness as treble notes tend to be buried under the bass and 3-4kHz tableau. Although the treble timbre is fairly accurate, it just doesn’t have enough presence to be felt.
Despite the laid back nature of the highs, the Singer has good clarity and a reasonable amount of detail retrieval but it lacks energy and in addition, sounds a bit dry.
The stage has an average width but feels rather deep because of its pushed back placement. It feels as though you’re sitting in one of the upper back rows in a cinema, looking down on the stage in the distance. You sometimes feel more like an observer rather than being immersed in the music. Instrument separation is good and the stage feels fairly open, even under the weight of the exaggerated bass but imaging and layering are average at best.
The Shuoer Singer feels like a swing and a miss but I think they’re on the right track and a retuned version of this IEM could be seriously formidable if done right. What they definitely did get right is the build quality and accessories. I personally love the addition of the balanced cable and 3.5mm adapter: but newer users might find it puzzling and maybe even inconvenient if they don’t have a balanced source but are forced to use the adapter.
In this crowded price segment, there are lots of great IEMs and as such, I can’t really recommend the Singer. However, I applaud Shuoer for adapting new driver tech and making it affordable for enough for people to give it a try.
Check the latest price on AliExpress or Amazon.
- Driver: Electrostatic Driver+8mm Dynamic Driver
- Cable: Detachable 2PIN OCC Cable
- Connector: 2.5mm (including a 2.5-3.5mm converter plug)
- Frequency response range: 20-30KHz
- Sensitivity: 103dB/m
- Distortion: ＜0.8％
- Impedance: 32Ω
- Cable Length: 1.25m
- Material: 304 Stainless Steel